Cheater's Crab or Smoked Salmon Rangoon

Crab (or Smoked Salmon) Rangoon are warm, tempting little nibbles ~ crispy won ton wrappers encase a cream cheese & crabmeat filling, laced with flecks of minced green onion (scallion), and other seasonings. But a warning ~ if you like them you'll find them highly addictive!

Actually the only thing about this method of making Crab Rangoon which makes it a "Cheater's" version is the method in which the won ton wrappers are folded.

Above you can see something like the traditional way  of forming filled won tons. However, as is evident, I usually put more filling in mine than recipes usually call for  ~ not so traditional. :)  

1/2 teaspoon of the cream cheese-seafood mixture is the generally recommended amount of filling for each, that way the creamy filling is less likely to ooze out while cooking  ... I push the limit. 

I call the ones formed as shown above as the "Cheater's" version, because it is a little faster to form the delectable morsels this way. Just put the filling in the middle, seal the edges with 'finger-paint skid' of water, fold the won ton wrapper in half to make a triangle and press edges to seal.

The version shaped in the traditional way  ~ like the ones above are best deep fried...

Whereas the triangular version may be shallow fried. 

Let's face it, fried is FRIED, so it isn't a healthier version, but it is more economical because shallow frying requires less oil.

And there is more surface area to turn delicately crispy!

The recipe is credited to  "Trader Vic"   (Victor Jules "Trader Vic" Bergeron, Jr.)   

Over the years I have collected several of his old books from the secondary market ~  although some seem dated, they are quite entertaining, and I look forward to sharing a few more of his recipes in the future.


A little more about Trader Vic (bio credited to countedx58)

Victor Jules "Trader Vic" Bergeron, Jr

 Birthdate: December 10, 1902, Death: October 11, 1984

"Businessman. He founded the Trader Vic's chain of Polynesian restaurants. At the height of "Tiki" popularity, Trader Vic's had more than two dozen locations around the world.

The chain still survives today. Bergeron became acquainted with the food business as a child, when his father was a waiter at San Francisco's famed Fairmont Hotel and also ran a grocery store in Oakland. The family both lived above and worked in the store. At the age of 30, he opened a pub, originally called Hinky Dink's, across the street that served cocktails and Polynesian food. The name was later changed to Trader Vic's.

Vital to any restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area at that time was getting a good review from San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. In 1936, an item in Caen's column said of Trader Vic's that the "best restaurant in San Francisco is in Oakland." He and his competitor, "Don the Beachcomber," both claimed to have invented the Mai Tai cocktail.

Adept at storytelling, Bergeron also published several books of both recipes and fiction." 


If you would like a printable copy of the recipe, please click HERE to visit the Once Upon a Plate Recipe blog.

Thank you for stopping by today !! xo ~m


Apple-Carrot & Dried Cranberry Salad with Toasted Walnuts

Recently when Kathie, (Kami's beautiful and youthful grandma)  flew out to meet the most recent addition to our family, she treated us to some of her wonderful culinary creations. Among them was this salad which we loved.

It is just one more example of the whole being  MORE than the sum of its' parts.  This is delicious!! Way better than the old Carrot-Raisin-Pineapple salad if you ask me.

The recipe is from "Clean Eating" magazine. Thank you for sharing it Kathie~ this fresh, healthful and tasty salad is a new favorite of ours.

People, the wonderful thing is... NO real recipe needed!
Grated apple (washed and skin left on),  grated carrots, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.  For the dressing?  It doesn't need much...  a little freshly squeezed lemon juice, a little bit of sweetener (sugar, honey, agave syrup... etc.)  Toss all together and serve.

To change it out every once in a while I think a little fresh, grated ginger would be delicious as well (if you have ginger fans in your house.)

Thank you for stopping by today, friends... I would love it if you would leave a comment.  xo~m. 


Marcella Hazan's Roast Chicken with Two Lemons

From the moment I heard of this method of preparing a roast chicken well over 20 years ago,  this has remained one of my family's favorites. It is definitely my personal favorite, and if I could only roast a chicken using one method for the rest of my life ~ this would be it!

If you are lucky enough to get a chicken with skin entirely intact (no tears, or holes) ~ near the end of roasting time the skin will  will puff up dramatically and have become crispy while the chicken beneath the skin remains juicy and succulent ~ as this one did. (But by the time I got the camera out it had deflated, no worry though because the chicken is delicious just the same.) Perfectly flavored whether served from the oven, or at room temperature.

It's a classic and simple recipe from one of my favorite cooking teachers and cookbook authors, Marcella Hazan.

One whole chicken, two lemons, salt and a little freshly ground black pepper produce some of the most succulent pieces of chicken you may ever taste.

I love Marcella's recipes, and although some may seem to be quite an undertaking because of the length ~ please don't let that put you off. It simply appears so because Ms. Hazan is such a great teacher that she explains each step and exactly why they are necessary to produce the desired results, which is enormously helpful, especially for a new cook.

The method is simple ~ rinse the chicken well, inside and out. Allow to drain for a few minutes after rinsing, then blot dry with a cloth or paper towels. Remove any visible bits of fat in the cavities of the bird and salt generously, inside and out. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

Roll the lemons between your hands or on a counter to help release the juice. Poke the lemons many times with the tines of a fork or a wood pick.

Place the pricked lemons inside of the cavity of the chicken and secure with a couple of tooth or food picks. I tie the legs together with a bit of twine to help keep the chicken compact and the lemons in place.
Then roast, at first breast down, then turn over to continue roasting until done~ the chicken is self basting, no need to add fat or to baste.

Serve along with the succulent juices ~ and you'll probably taste one of the best roasted chickens you've had in your life.


As Linda (http://ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com/)
noted... sometimes the chicken skin will stick to the pan during the first part of baking (as the chicken is roasting breast-side-down.)
To prevent this~  I cut a small piece of parchment baking paper, brush with olive oil or butter and place it on the roasting pan beneath the chicken breast where it makes contact with the pan.  When it is time to turn the bird over to continue baking (when breast side is UP) just remove the parchment paper. Yay! No stick, and NO torn chicken skin.

Forever grateful to Marcella Hazan for all she shares! I have several of her books, which I value highly ~ here is the first I ever purchased and I recommend it. 

You probably noticed I roasted the chicken in one of my favorite cast iron skillets.  Not fancy at all, but of all the roasting pans I have... stainless, porcelain, Le Creuset or Staub ~ I reach for my Lodge cast iron skillet almost every time for small roasted meats like this; just as my parents and grandparents did before me.
It's just large enough to add a few potatoes and/or carrots around the meat while roasting. 

This one is a Lodge Logic-- no need to preseason the skillet.  Just hand wash it and it is ready to use.  I love my collection of great quality cookware ~ but I would never part with any of my black cast iron ... they heat evenly and are indestructible workhorse pieces in my kitchen.

I haven't asked for permission to share the exact recipe, but you can find it HERE on the Internet.  If you try it, I hope it becomes one of your favorites, too.

Thank you for stopping by today ~ and I would love it if you would leave me your thoughts or any comments, I cherish each one.    ~ Mari  :)

Joyful Times ~

A brand new baby granddaughter to love in our family ~
born 1-11-11.

Here she is being held by Grandpa W at about 2 hours old, early last evening.

Happily Mama, baby and Daddy are doing fine.

Congratulations Phil and Kacie!!  xoxo


Healthy No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread and My Grain Mill

Strive as we might, like most families, we sometimes stumble when it comes to eating a 100% healthy diet.

We try to eat food products grown locally when possible, choosing produce that is organic and in season,  whole foods and grains... and we continue to introduce into our diet lacto-fermented foods (those are foods which contain the 'good for your gut bacteria' to help promote a healthy digestive system.) 

To keep on track with healthful eating habits I try to keep in mind the advice which goes something like this~

 "If your great grandmother, or great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize the food, it's probably best to avoid it."
(That kind of leaves cheese puffs, for example, out of the picture. :D)

One thing that I like to do on a regular basis is make whole grain breads usually each week, or every other week. (On the day I make bread I usually set a loaf aside and after it has cooled, I wrap it well and stick it into the freezer so there is always some good, wholesome bread on hand.) 

Here is what I made recently ~

When our son was young I used to bake our favorite whole wheat bread once a week, mixed and kneaded by hand. 

I still find it therapeutic to knead the dough by hand on occasion ~ but I don't always have the time.  That is when the No-Knead (aka Artisan bread in 5-minutes a day)  method is so welcome.

I was very happy when Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois released their follow-up book to their first book ~ 

Their second book focuses on teaching us how to make more nutritious breads, and other baked goods using whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and gluten-free ingredients.

100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

We love the full flavor and wholesome texture of this bread.

Delicious any way it is served; room temperature, warmed up, or toasted.

Several months ago we invested in a grain mill to assure our flour is as fresh as possible; whole grain flour loses nutrients rapidly and goes rancid rather quickly once milled. If ground ahead it should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.  That is why I'm not so keen on buying whole grain flours off the shelf.  

Here is an additional article that may be of interest regarding the shelf life of whole wheat flour ~ also raised is the question of whether the 'whole wheat flour' found in the grocery store actually contains the entire wheat berry, or if the perishable oils have been stripped to make it shelf stable for months.  

Years ago when I used to make whole grain bread every week I was able to buy it from a local health food store. The grains were milled on premises and refrigerated in plastic bags for sale.   I don't find that to be the case near my home now.

That is actually what compelled me to look into grain mills so I could grind my own. There are a number of high quality mills on the market, and after doing a fair amount of research I decided upon the  L'Equip 760200 NutriMill Grain Mill.

I have been using it for a little over six months and am very pleased with its efficiency and ease of operation. 

I buy organic whole grains in bulk from my local health food store, and can have freshly ground flour within just a couple of minutes (it's FAST!) with very little effort on my part.

Here you can see the whole wheat berries and the freshly ground flour. 

We've found that there is a remarkable difference in freshly milled flour when compared to flour from the bag. The whole wheat flour is enticingly aromatic and very sweet smelling when freshly ground.  I noticed a similar pleasing aroma when grinding oat and rye berries, though they each have their own particular fragrance.

The baked things just seem to taste better when the flour is absolutely fresh, it is also very satisfying to bake with flour you have ground yourself only minutes earlier.

I'm participating in Tuesday Twister, hosted by Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS  (please click to learn more.)

Upcoming Soon . . .

Working with homemade Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter.

I'm currently taking another e-course hosted by Wardeh Harmon of GNOWGFLINS ~ this time it's all about Sourdough. I've worked with sourdough starter in the past, but always with store-bought starter, and never with a whole grain starter. 

I urge you to check out Wardeh's blog and the e-courses that are available~ Wardeh is a great teacher and the GNOWGFLINS support forum is wonderful!


If you are interested in learning more about my grain mill, you can click the image below.

Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love to read your thoughts and comments.

Have a wonderful and healthful week, my friends.


~ A Brand New Year --- Happy 2011 to All ~

Nothing special cooking at my house today ~
just taking a little break from the kitchen after the holidays.

Instead I thought I'd share some eggs from one of our chickens, Sugar ~ our Amerucana (or "Easter Egg") hen, lays these beautifully colored eggs. The outside of the shells are light olive green, while the inside are a bright Robin's egg blue. Each Amerucana lays colored eggs ranging from light brown to various shades of blue and green, and each hen will lay the same color of egg her entire laying "career".  :)

Sugar ~  about 2 weeks old 

What a surprise it was when I cracked open her first egg and saw that beautiful blue interior.  (The egg tastes no different than any of the other chicken's eggs.)

Another close up ... I loved her markings as a young chick. :)

All of our hens began laying prolifically in mid-to- late summer, as winter approached and the days grew shorter their egg-laying tapered off a bit (as is to be expected) and will pick up again as the days grow longer, come spring. 

I don't have a picture of her full-grown (it's time to take current pictures of the hens), but here she is with her "sisters" early in summer of 2010.

We thoroughly enjoy our chickens as pets (and the bonus is, that they also provide fresh, organic food for the table.) Each hen has her own distinct personality and they are quite entertaining to observe.

 During the day we allow ours out of their pen to roam the property ~ they do a wonderful job of keeping the insect population under control.

If you have a little space in your yard and an interest in chickens (and fresh eggs~), I would highly recommend you consider raising a couple for yourself. 

    Many communities allow keeping up to 4 to 5 hens ~ (check into local ordinances.)  A hen house and pen does not have to be elaborate, and can be set up in a corner of your yard.  I had a lot of fun searching 'google' images for "chicken coops", and "hen houses" while were were in the planning stage of our hen house and pen.  You might be amazed at the varieties and styles of coops and houses available.

I am often asked if hens need a rooster to lay eggs... no, they do not need a rooster to lay eggs.  However, if you want fertilized eggs to eat, or you want to allow your hens to raise their own chicks ~ a rooster is a must.

To read more about our Chicken Keeping:

  Click HERE to see pictures of the chicks when we first brought them home last spring.

For our Hen House construction click HERE and  HERE 


There are plenty of great resources on the internet with information on how to keep your own.

One of my favorites is Backyard Chickens , and you can find many other excellent resources by doing an internet search.

Thank you for stopping by today!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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